Republicans who won't be coming back to Congress after 2018 midterm elections
Republicans who won’t be coming back to Congress after 2018 midterm elections
As the House Ethics Committee investigates allegations of sexual misconduct, Sen. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, said Thursday that he will no longer seek reelection in 2018.
Farenthold denied the sexual harassment allegations made against him, but said he “allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional.”
The accusations against Farenthold first surfaced in 2014 when a former aide sued him over sexually suggestive comments and behavior and said she’d been fired after she complained. Farenthold maintained his innocence, and the case was settled in the next year.
While the explanations have varied, multiple Republican lawmakers have already announced that they would not return to Washington after 2018. In general, fall retirement announcements are nothing new. On average, 22 House members retire each cycle, Roll Call reported.
Here’s the list of Republicans, in the House and Senate, who have announced they will not seek re-election:
Embattled Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, announced on Nov. 30 that he was retiring from Congress.
Barton’s announcement came after pressure for him to end his re-election bid mounted. Barton, 68, apologized after a nude photo of him surfaced on social media. He said he engaged in consensual sexual relationships while he was estranged from his second wife.
“I’ve always listened to people in Texas and worked for them in Washington, and I’ve been listening to a lot of people the last week in Texas,” Barton told the Dallas Morning News. “There are enough people who lost faith in me that it’s time to step aside and let there be a new voice for the 6th district in Washington, so I am not going to run for re-election.”
Jason Chaffetz of Utah announced in May that he would resign from Congress at the end of June 2017.
“My life has undergone some big changes over the last 18 months. Those changes have been good. But as I celebrated my 50th birthday in March, the reality of spending more than 1,500 nights away from my family over eight years hit me harder than it had before,” Chaffetz said at the time.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced on Sept. 27 that he will not seek a third term in 2018.
Corker, 65, had previously said that he “couldn’t imagine” serving more than two terms. Corker has often feuded with Trump.
Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent said on Sept. 7 that he would not seek re-election. The seven-term congressman told Fox News that he made the decision both for personal reasons and because “the polarization around here is pretty severe.”
Dent, 57, has been openly critical of Trump. He voted against party lines and a repeal of ObamaCare earlier this summer.
Rep. Jimmy Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., announced in July that he would not seek re-election.
In announcing his retirement, Duncan, 70, thanked conservatives who supported him against “recent attacks against me from the far left.”
“I love my job, but I love my family more.”
“I have decided I wanted to spend less time in airports, airplanes and traveling around the district and more time with my family, especially my nine grandchildren, who all live in Knoxville,” Duncan said. “I love my job, but I love my family more.”
Roll Call reported that Duncan’s sister, state Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, could launch a bid for his empty seat.
After multiple accusations of sexual harassment, misconduct and inappropriate behavior surfaced over the past few weeks, Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, said he won’t run for reelection after all.
The House Ethics Committee said earlier in December that it was expanding a probe into sexual harassment allegations against the lawmaker, which would include an investigation into whether he retaliated against a former staff member for complaining of such behavior. Congressional sources said Farenthold paid an $84,000 settlement using taxpayer money.
In a video posted to his campaign Facebook page, Farenthold said he “allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional.” However, he continued to deny the sexual harassment claims against him.
“It accommodated destructive gossip, off-hand comments, off-color jokes and behavior that in general was less than professional,” Farenthold, 56, said. “And I allowed the personal stress of the job to manifest itself in angry outbursts and – too often – a failure to treat people with respect that they deserved. That was wrong.”
“An unprofessional work environment is not a crime, but it’s embarrassing to me and to my family. It reflects poorly on the institution of Congress, on my colleagues and on my constituents, and they deserve better,” he said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Farenthold was “making the right decision to retire,” citing the “unacceptable behavior that has been alleged.”
But Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Crystal K. Perkins slammed Farenthold’s decision not to run for reelection as “simply not enough,” calling it a “PR stunt.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., announced on Oct. 24 that he would not seek re-election. Flake is an ardent critic of Trump.
Flake, 54, faced a tough re-election campaign in Arizona against Kelli Ward, a physician who has also challenged Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Trump has previously said that it was “great” that Ward was running against a “toxic” Flake.
In announcing that he wouldn’t run for re-election, Flake said the GOP is becoming a “backward-looking minority party.”
“It is clear in this moment that a traditional conservative, who believes in limited government and free markets, who is devoted to free-trade, who is pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican Party, the party that has for so long defined itself by its belief in those things,” Flake said.
Arizona Rep. Trent Franks announced on Dec. 8 that his resignation would take affect immediately, despite previously announcing that he’d leave the House in January due to sexual misconduct allegations against him.
He attributed the change in date to his wife’s admittance to the hospital but reports later surfaced alleging Frank repeatedly pressed a former aide to carry his child, offering her $5 million to act as a surrogate.
Franks’ Dec. 7 announcement came as the House Ethics Committee said it was looking into whether he “engaged in conduct that constitutes sexual harassment and/or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment.”
Franks, 60, maintained that he never physically intimidated, coerced or had sexual contact with any member of his staff. He said he discussed surrogacy issues with some of his female staff which made them “uncomfortable.”
The conservative congressman said that “in the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff and noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation.”
The Washington Post reported that Franks had asked two female employees to be a surrogate for him and his wife.
Franks initially said he would leave Congress on Jan. 31, 2018 before departing in December.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte announced on Nov. 9 that he would not seek re-election, saying it is “the right time to step aside.”
The Virginia lawmaker, who has been in Congress since 1993, said he has discussed whether to run for re-election with his wife, Maryellen, every two years. This year’s conversation, Goodlatte said, was different.
“With my time as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee ending in December 2018, this is a natural stepping-off point and an opportunity to begin a new chapter of my career and spend more time with my family, particularly my granddaughters,” Goodlatte, 65, said in a letter.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, announced on Oct. 31 that he will not run for re-election in 2018.
“Today I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to the US Congress in 2018. Although service in Congress remains the greatest privilege of my life, I never intended to make it a lifetime commitment, and I have already stayed far longer than I had originally planned,” Hensarling, 60, said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Hensarling also added that he wants to spend more time with his family.
Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., announced on Jan. 25 that she would not seek re-election or run for another office.
Jenkins, 54, said she wanted to return to the private sector although she was highly rumored to be a possible gubernatorial candidate in Kansas.
Longtime Texas Rep. Sam Johnson announced his retirement on Jan. 6.
“For me, the Lord has made clear that the season of my life in Congress is coming to an end,” Johnson, 87, said.
Johnson is an Air Force veteran who was a prisoner of war at the infamous Hanoi Hilton in Vietnam.
Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, announced this summer that he would finish out his current term but then run for governor of Idaho in 2018 instead of re-election, according to HuffPost.
Labrador, 50, is a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus.
Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., will retire from Congress at the end of his term, Fox News has learned. The 71-year-old assumed his seat in 1995.
LoBiondo’s retirement opens up a seat in a potential swing district. Trump won in it 2016, but former President Barack Obama took the district in 2012.
The GOP lawmaker has differed from his party on certain issues. He voted against the budget framework and has expressed concerns about Republicans’ tax plan, specifically the move to eliminate certain state and local deductions.
GOP Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania announced on Oct. 5 that he would resign his position in Congress. The news followed reports that the lawmaker, who has publicly been staunchly anti-abortion, had an affair and asked his mistress to get an abortion when they believed she was pregnant.
Murphy, 65, said he will “take personal time to seek help as my family and I continue to work through our personal difficulties.”
Instead of seeking re-election in 2018, Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., announced in November 2016 that she will run for governor instead.
In her announcement, Noem, 46, officially kicked off her gubernatorial bid this year.
New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce opted to run for governor of his state instead of re-election in July.
Pearce, 70, has been a congressman for more than 12 years. He told the Albuquerque Journal that as governor he would focus on the exodus of young people leaving the state.
In a Twitter message, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, announced that he will not seek re-election.
“I am grateful for the honor and privilege to represent the best people in America, Texas’s Second Congressional District. Thanks to the good Lord, I’m in good health, but it’s time for the next step,” Poe, 69, said on Nov. 7.
He added that he’s planning to spend more time with his grandchildren. All 12 of them were born since he’s been in Congress, Poe said. He assumed office in 2005.
After serving seven terms in Congress, Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., said he would not seek re-election on Sept. 6. A former sheriff, Reichert, 67, represents a district that is being targeted by Democrats in 2018. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the area in the 2016 election.
Reichert said the decision to retire from Congress was “the right one for my family and me.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., announced on April 30 that she would not seek re-election. Ros-Lehtinen, 65, has been a congresswoman since 1989.
“The most difficult challenge is not to simply keep winning elections; but rather the more difficult challenge is to not let the ability to win define my seasons,” she said.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Ros-Lehtinen is considered a moderate Republican who was not a strong supporter of Trump.
Rep. Lamar Smith, a 70-year-old Republican serving Texas, announced Nov. 2 that he would be retiring from Congress at the end of his term.
Smith, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, has served in the House of Representatives since 1987.
Luther Strange, R, was appointed to Jeff Sessions’ old Senate after he was picked to be the attorney general.
But Strange, 64, lost in the special primary election earlier in 2017 to Roy Moore. Moore, who became the GOP nominee for the Senate, eventually lost to Democrat Doug Jones. Strange will vacate his seat once Jones is officially certified and sworn in.
In his farewell speech to the Senate in December, Stranger encouraged his fellow lawmakers to remain committed to bipartisanship.
“To lose the art of balance and compromise in this body is to lose something essentially American,” he said.
Ohio Rep. Pat Tiberi announced on Oct. 19 that he would resign from Congress in early 2018 to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable, as the association’s president.
Serving as a Republican Congressman for 17 years, Tiberi, 55, said that while he has “not yet determined a final resignation date, I will be leaving Congress by January 31, 2018.”
Rep. Dave Trott, R-Mich., announced on Sept. 11 that he would not seek re-election.
Trott, 57, will retire at the end of his second term. His district is Republican-leaning, but analysts told the Detroit News that a Democrat could flip the seat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.